The Ugly Truth

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Why?
 
I wish someone would tell me what it is that I’ve done wrong,
and why I must be chained outside and left alone so long.

They seemed so glad to have me, when I came here as a pup.
There were so many things we’d do while I was growing up.

The master said he’d train me, as a companion dog and friend.
The mistress said she’d never fear to be alone again.

The children said they’d feed me and brush me every day.
They’d play with me and walk me if I could only stay.

But now the master hasn’t time, the mistress says I shed.
She won’t allow me in the house, not even to be fed.

The children never walk me, they always say not now.
I wish that I could please them, why won’t they tell me how?

All I had to give was love, so someone please explain.
Just why they said they wanted me, and then left me on a chain.

~Anonymous~

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The Theft of Our Pets
 
The Humane Society of the United States suggests that you not leave your pet outside unsupervised any longer than you would leave a toddler alone, even if it is in a fenced yard. Pet theft in the United States is big business, and it's on the rise. The midwest is a very high pet-theft area, and the thieves don't just take purebreds. They are also looking for friendly, mixed-breed, companion animals to sell to research labs, and to use as bait in training fighting dogs (despite the fact dog fighting is illegal in most of the 50 states).
 
Please take precuations or your "lost" dog could end up in the hands of "bunchers"  who steal dogs to be sold for use as “bait” to train fighting dogs. They may also be taken by unscrupulous Class B dealers who sell dogs from random sources to research institutions for use in biomedical research, testing and education procedures.  
 
Class “B” dealers  are only supposed to obtain animals for re-sale from other “B” dealers, pounds and shelters and from persons who have bred and raised the animals themselves.  However, “B” dealers routinely violate the law by acquiring animals from fraudulent sources and abusing and neglecting them. These animals are often stolen pets, strays or animals obtained under false pretenses and deception such as “free to good home” ads. It is virtually impossible to know the true history of an animal acquired by a Class “B” dealer. Each time a Class “B” dealer sells an animal to a research lab, a strong possibility exists that it is a lost or stolen family pet.
 

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The RCHS recently became involved, once again, in a heartbreaking situation involving puppies which had apparently been dumped in the country. Fortunately two of the pups were found along the roadside and were rescued. The third, being more timid, ran when the caring stranger approached. She returned the next day, hoping to make friends with the silver haired pup, but instead found it lying dead in the road.

With just a little effort on the owner's part, this tragedy could have been prevented. First, if the mother of these pups had been spayed, no puppies would have been born. The spaying could have been done at a low cost spay/neuter clinic. And just recently the Humane Society raffled off two vouchers for free spay/neuter procedures. Second, contacting the Humane Society and requesting assistance with placing these pups in permanent homes would have resulted in a better outcome for all THREE pups.

Unfortunately, at this time we do not have a shelter to house all the animals needing our help. What we can do is offer our support and assistance until a permanent home can be found.  When possible, the animal will be placed with a foster care provider. In some cases the owner may be asked to "foster" his own animal/animals during the placement period. Assistance with medical care is also available as having an animal up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite control will increase the chances of adoption.

If you find yourself needing to relocate an animal, or even an entire litter, please take a moment to think about what life is really like for an abandoned animal. Then contact the Humane Society before you decide to take that drive to the country. We are here to assist you in anyway we can.

Not all of the animals the Humane Society deals with are blessed with good health. Many are underweight, full of parasites, and living in filth. Some have been abused, neglected or abandoned. These animals often require special medical attention and socialization before they are ready for adoption. They are the neediest of the needy.

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Dogfighting Fact Sheet

1. What is dogfighting?

Dogfighting is a sadistic "contest" in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit (generally a small arena enclosed by plywood walls) to fight each other for the spectators' entertainment and gambling. Fights average nearly an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs will not or cannot continue. In addition to these dogfights, there are reports of an increase in unorganized street fights in urban areas.

2. How does it cause animal suffering?

The injuries inflicted and sustained by dogs participating in dogfights are frequently severe, even fatal. The American pit bull terriers used in the majority of these fights have been specifically bred and trained for fighting and are unrelenting in their attempts to overcome their opponents. With their extremely powerful jaws, they are able to inflict severe bruising, deep puncture wounds and broken bones.

Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Other animals are often sacrificed as well. Some owners train their dogs for fights using smaller animals such as cats, rabbits or small dogs. These "bait" animals are often stolen pets or animals obtained through "free to good home" advertisements.

3. Are there other concerns?

Yes. Numerous law enforcement raids have unearthed many disturbing facets of this illegal "sport." Young children are sometimes present at the events, which can promote insensitivity to animal suffering, enthusiasm for violence and a lack of respect for the law. Illegal gambling is the norm at dogfights. Dog owners and spectators wager thousands of dollars on their favorites. Firearms and other weapons have been found at dogfights because of the large amounts of cash present. And dogfighting has been connected to other kinds of violence—even homicide, according to newspaper reports. In addition, illegal drugs are often sold and used at dogfights.

4. What other effects does the presence of dogfighting have on people and animals in a community?

Dogs used for fighting have been bred for many generations to be dangerously aggressive toward other animals. The presence of these dogs in a community increases the risk of attacks not only on other animals but also on people. Children are especially at risk, because their small size may cause a fighting dog to perceive a child as another animal.

5. Why should dogfighting be a felony offense?

There are several compelling reasons. Because dogfighting yields such large profits for participants, the minor penalties associated with misdemeanor convictions are not a sufficient deterrent. Dogfighters merely absorb these fines as part of the cost of doing business. The cruelty inherent in dogfighting should be punished by more than a slap on the hand. Dogfighting is not a spur-of-the-moment act; it is a premeditated and cruel practice.

Those involved in dogfighting go to extensive lengths to avoid detection by law enforcement, so investigations can be difficult, dangerous, and expensive. Law enforcement officials are more inclined to investigate dogfighting if it is a felony. As more states make dogfighting a felony offense, those remaining states with low penalties will become magnets for dogfighters.

6. Do some states already have felony laws?

Yes. Dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states and a felony offense in almost every state.

7. Should being a spectator also be a felony?

Yes. Spectators provide much of the profit associated with dogfighting. The money generated by admission fees and gambling helps keep this "sport" alive. Because dogfights are illegal and therefore not widely publicized, spectators do not merely happen upon a fight; they seek it out. They are willing participants who support a criminal activity through their paid admission and attendance.

8. What can I do to help stop dogfighting?

If you live in one of the states where dogfighting is still only a misdemeanor, please write to your state legislators and urge them to make it a felony. To find out how your state treats dogfighting, visit our page on State Dogfighting Laws.

We encourage you also to write letters to the media to increase public awareness of the dangers of dogfighting and to law enforcement officials or prosecutors and judges to urge them to take the issue seriously. You may want to display our dogfighting poster in your community. For free posters, please include your name and address in an email along with the number of posters you would like to receive, and we'll send our catalog as well.

If you suspect that dogfighting is going on in your own neighborhood, alert your local law enforcement agency and urge agency officials to contact The HSUS for practical tools, advice and assistance.

 

Article used with the permission of The Humane Society of the United States

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Behind Closed Doors: The Horrors of Animal Hoarding
 
By Rebecca Simmons

To someone desperate to find a home for a litter of kittens, the Chubbers Animal Rescue would have appeared to be the perfect haven. Nestled in a wooded lot in Caroline County, Maryland, the former home of Linda Farve and Ernie Mills was a place where people could relinquish cats, seemingly secure in the knowledge that the couple would help the animals find happy homes.

But in reality, behind the facade of the cheerful website and rural home, tragedy lurked. When animal control officers and volunteers from the Caroline County Humane Society and The Humane Society of the United States entered the home on May 1, 2003 they found more than 300 cats, including more than 70 felines in various forms of decomposition. If the smell of animal death weren't enough, volunteers also encountered surfaces covered with inches of waste and garbage.

"In one part of the house, we were stepping on several layers of feces and skeletons," says The HSUS's Krista Hughes, one of the volunteers who served as part of a team to document the situation and rescue the cats. "It was disgusting. The amount of filth was unbelievable."

It didn't start out that way. Several years earlier, the Humane Society of Caroline County had visited the Favre/Mills home and approved Chubbers as a legitimate animal rescue organization. Soon afterward, the couple began accepting and, in some cases, actively seeking out cats from around the East Coast. It wasn't long before the number of cats began to multiply, as this horrific case of animal hoarding unfolded.

A Deadly Obsession

For most people, the term "animal hoarding" conjures up images of an eccentric "cat lady." Despite the stereotype that collecting animals is simply a quirky behavior, recent research has pointed to a direct correlation between psychological problems and the tendency to hoard.

"Hoarding is very often a symptom of a greater mental illness, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. For most hoarders, it is likely that their actions are the result of a true pathology, even though they are still usually able to function quite well in society," says Randall Lockwood, HSUS vice president for Research and Educational Outreach.

Because animal hoarders quite often appear to lead normal lives, it's important to recognize when a person's fixation with animals has gotten out of control. The HSUS defines an animal hoarder as a person who has more animals than he or she can properly care for. Another defining characteristic is the hoarder's denial of his inability to care for the animals and his failure to grasp the impact his neglect has on the animals, the household, and the human occupants of the dwelling.

What's more, hoarders are usually well-educated and possess excellent communication skills. Many hoarders have an uncanny ability to attract sympathy for themselves, no matter how abused their animals may be, which is often how hoarders manage to fool others into thinking the situation is under control.

"Very few hoarder cases simply involve good intentions gone awry, despite the insistence of the hoarder that he or she loves the animals and wants to save their lives," says Lockwood. "It's unbelievable how someone who reports to love animals so much can cause so much suffering."

House of Horrors

For many involved in investigating animal cruelty and neglect, hoarding cases are among the most horrific they ever encounter. "The amount of suffering in a hoarder case is more widespread and of a longer duration than most animal cruelty cases," says Lockwood. "Although the case of a dog being violently killed is shocking, in a hoarder case the suffering can be felt by hundreds of animals for months and months on end."

Indeed, hoarding can have serious repercussions for the animals involved. "Hoarding can often amount to physical, medical and physiological neglect in the extreme," says Lockwood. The unsanitary conditions of the dwelling and lack of veterinary treatment and social interaction for animals all add up to serious neglect. The animals involved often endure a variety of ailments, such as malnutrition, parasitic infestation, infection, and disease.

According to the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, many hoarder dwellings have been condemned as unfit for human habitation. Polluted air in some homes is so irritating to the respiratory tract, because of the high level of ammonia present, that a visitor cannot enter without protective breathing apparatus.

Long-Term Solutions

Because of the horrible suffering involved, criminal animal cruelty charges are increasingly being filed in hoarding cases. Yet, because animal hoarding is linked to mental illness, the most appropriate resolution is still being debated. A combination of therapy and long-term monitoring is the often the best approach, in part because of the high recidivism rate. (Most hoarders revert to old behaviors unless they receive ongoing mental health assistance and monitoring.)

Jail time may also be appropriate in some hoarding cases, although, according to Ann Chynoweth, counsel to Investigative Services for The HSUS, it's uncommon for criminal charges to be brought against hoarders, and even more uncommon that those charged receive jail time.

The Caroline County case was unusual in this respect. Both Mills and Farve were sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years probation after pleading guilty to three and four counts respectively of felony animal cruelty, yet they were scheduled to receive a mental evaluation only as an afterthought.

"We are pleased that Maryland's felony animal cruelty law was meaningfully enforced in this massive case of animal cruelty, and we applaud the judge for acknowledging the severity of the crime," says Chynoweth. "At the same time, we are disappointed that there was not more attention to the need of psychological counseling in this case."

Community members can make sure hoarders get the help they need, while protecting animals at the same time, by notifying local police and/or animal control if they suspect someone is hoarding animals. In addition, as a basic precaution, anyone who is considering relinquishing an animal to a private rescue group should first visit the premises and ask to see where the animals are kept.

It's vital that people work together to stop animal hoarding. As the Caroline County case and recent studies illustrate, good intentions aren't always enough. It really does seem possible to love animals to death.

Rebecca Simmons is the Outreach Communications Coordinator for the Companion Animals section of The HSUS.

Article used with permission from http://www.hsus.org/

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Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce purebred puppies in large numbers. The puppies are sold either directly to the public via the Internet, newspaper ads, at the mill itself, or are sold to brokers and pet shops across the country. Puppy mills have long concerned The Humane Society of the United States.

The documented problems of puppy mills include overbreeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of socialization with humans, overcrowded cages, and the killing of unwanted animals. To the unwitting consumer, this situation frequently means buying a puppy facing an array of immediate veterinary problems or harboring genetically borne diseases that do not appear until years later. In 1994, Time magazine estimated that as many as 25% of purebred dogs were afflicted with serious genetic problems.

Sadly, some dogs are forced to live in puppy mills for their entire lives. They are kept there for one reason only: to produce more puppies. Repeatedly bred, many of these 'brood bitches' are killed once their reproductive capacity wanes.

Thousands of these breeding operations currently exist in the United States, many of them despite repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is charged with enforcing the AWA; however, with 96 inspectors nationwide who oversee not only the thousands of puppy mills, but also zoos, circuses, laboratories, and animals transported via commercial airlines, they are an agency stretched thin.

The HSUS, along with other animal-protection groups, has successfully lobbied for increased funding for AWA enforcement. Although all 50 states have anti-cruelty laws that should prevent neglect and mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills, such laws are seldom enforced.

The Pet Store Link

The HSUS strongly opposes the sale, through pet shops and similar outlets, of puppies and dogs from mass-breeding establishments. Puppy-mill dogs are the "inventory" of these retail operations. Statistics from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) indicate that approximately 3,500 to 3,700 of the 11,500 to 12,000 U.S. pet stores sell cats and dogs. PIJAC also estimates that pet stores sell 300,000 to 400,000 puppies every year. The HSUS estimates the number to be 500,000.

Purebreed registration papers only state the recorded lineage of a dog. Accuracy of the reported lineage cannot be guaranteed. The American Kennel Club (AKC), the most widely recognized purebred dog registry, readily notes that it "is not itself involved in the sale of dogs and cannot therefore guarantee the health and quality of dogs in its registry." Clearly, it is "buyer beware."

The "Retail Pet Store" Exemption Problem

The USDA has never required dealers who sell their animals directly to the public to apply for licenses, regardless of the size of the operation. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) excludes "retail pet stores" from its minimum humane care and handling requirements, and it is the USDA's position that these dealers are retail pet stores. However, many think that a person breeding animals on his own premises and selling them directly to consumers is not a "retail pet store."

Each year American consumers purchase dogs from unregulated dealers who sell animals from their premises. Many of the animals are sold through newspaper advertisements and via the Internet, which means the purchaser can't see the conditions in which the dogs live. A number of investigative reports, however, have revealed that these facilities can be horrific. Thirty-five years ago, Congress passed the AWA to, in part, ensure that breeders provide humane treatment to animals in their care. AWA requirements include adequate housing, ample food and water, reasonable handling, basic disease prevention, decent sanitation, and sufficient ventilation.

On May 11, 2000, a coalition of animal protection organizations and individuals filed a lawsuit charging the USDA with failing to halt cruel and inhumane practices at breeding facilities. The plaintiffs outlined the USDA's illegal actions in exempting pet dealers who were not retail stores from compliance with the humane treatment standards mandated by the AWA. The complaint also described how the USDA's lack of appropriate application of the AWA can lead to the injury, illness, and death of untold numbers of animals.

On July 31, 2001, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the language and history of the AWA clearly show that an individual who sells dogs and cats from his or her own premises is not a "retail pet store." Thus, the court found that USDA's exclusion of all commercial dealers who sell dogs and cats directly to the public is in violation of Congress' express intent under the AWA.

Upon appeal by the USDA, the decision was overturned. This strikes a huge blow against the effort to protect all dogs in large scale breeding facilities. Because of USDA's appeal, dogs who are used in such breeding operations, and whose puppies are sold directly to the public, have no protection under the Animal Welfare Act. Animal protection groups have petitioned the Supreme Court to request the case be heard.

The HSUS's Role

The HSUS has been fighting a relentless battle against puppy mills since the early 1980s, including monitoring the USDA's performance in this area and pushing for better AWA enforcement.

In 1984, the General Accounting Office, the investigative agency of the U.S. Congress, found major deficiencies in the enforcement of the AWA regulations concerning puppy mills. Despite improvements in its inspection process, the USDA lacks the resources to effectively enforce these regulations.

In 1990, frustrated by the apathy of federal and state officials, The HSUS led a nationwide boycott of puppies from the seven worst puppy mill states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. The boycott captured a great deal of national media attention, including numerous newspaper articles and television reports on shows such as 20/20, Good Morning, America, and The Today Show.

Raids on puppy mills subsequently took place in Kansas, where the state legislature, attempting to protect recalcitrant puppy mill operators by hampering investigators, enacted a law making it a felony to photograph a puppy mill facility.

Lemon Laws

As the horror of puppy mills gained attention, some states responded with 'lemon laws' to protect consumers who buy puppies. As of August 2001, 17 states had enacted laws or issued regulations that allow consumers to receive refunds or the reimbursement of veterinary bills when a sick puppy is purchased. While these laws place a limited onus on pet stores and puppy mills to sell healthy puppies, and theoretically improve conditions at the breeding facilities, The HSUS feels that they do not adequately protect the animals who suffer in these establishments.

Latest Developments and HSUS Action

Facing an unreliable regulatory environment and legislatures unwilling to pass statutes that directly combat the problem of mass breeders and their nationwide network of dealers, The HSUS continues to target the consumer for its anti-puppy-mill messages. Consumer demand for purebred puppies, more than any other factor, perpetuates the misery of puppy mills.

Unfortunately, a dog's lifespan is often longer than a consumer's desire to maintain this "product." As a result, millions of dogs are sent to animal shelters every year, where roughly half will be euthanized. The HSUS estimates that one in four of the dogs that enter U.S. animal shelters is purebred.

Article used with permission from http://www.hsus.org/

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As a nation, we claim to love cats and dogs. Millions of households have pets, and billions of dollars are spent yearly on pet supplies and food. But as a nation, we should take a hard, sobering look at a different annual statistic: the millions of dogs and cats given up to shelters or left to die on the streets. And the numbers tell only half the story.

Every cat or dog who dies as a result of pet overpopulation—whether humanely in a shelter or by injury, disease, or neglect—is an animal who, more often than not, would have made a wonderful companion, if given the chance. Tremendous as the problem of pet overpopulation is, it can be solved if each of us takes just one small step, starting with not allowing our animals to breed. Here's information about this crisis and why spaying and neutering is the first step to a solution. -HSUS

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Life at the End of a Chain


Thousands of dogs throughout the country are sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility for parole. These dogs have done nothing wrong and have never committed a crime. Yet they're subjected to a punishment worse than death - life at the end of a chain. Many of these dogs are chained up 24/7 and some remain incarcerated like this for their entire lives. Most of these dogs have never been for a walk nor played a game of fetch. They have never enjoyed a ride in a car, and have never known a moment of love.

Dogs are pack animals and possess a strong need for social interaction. The cruelest thing you can do to a dog is to force him into solitary confinement. I find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would acquire a dog and then choose to ignore the animal for the rest of his life. You would not banish your human family member to the backyard or the garage for life, so why would you do this to your canine family member. Dogs are members of the family, too, and in some cases they are the nicest ones. Dogs are loyal, patient, affectionate and sensitive. They are non-judgmental and provide unconditional love, something most humans are unable to do. They are always there for you, yet millions of American families are not always there for them. Dogs do so many things for humans. They rescue them in disasters; they sniff for bombs, so humans will be safe. They lead the blind, assist the police and help heal the sick. It is time we help them!

Animals experience the same feelings that humans do such as pain, fear, joy and sadness. Dogs chained for extended periods of time suffer from immense psychological damage. Some bark incessantly out of frustration, loneliness and boredom. Others become depressed, sad or withdrawn. And many develop aggressive behavior.

According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association many fatal attacks and numerous dog bites involve animals who have been restrained. The Humane Society of the United States reports that dogs forced to live on a chain are defenseless against other animals that enter their territory. They are often subjected to harassment and teasing from insensitive humans and they are easy targets for thieves looking to steal animals for medical research. Further, many tethered dogs often strangle to death on their chains and others have been found with chains embedded in their necks, as a result of years of neglect.

Aside from the severe emotional and social deprivation these animals experience, they also suffer from exposure to extreme temperatures, medical neglect, dehydration, and parasite infestation. Many dogs are forced to eat, sleep and deposit their own waste in a single confined area. In addition, some chained dogs are used for dog fighting, an activity usually associated with other criminal behavior. And contrary to popular opinion, chained dogs do not make good watchdogs. Dogs instinctively protect their own territory, which in this case, is their yard, not the house where they are never invited.

Chaining a dog 24 hours a day is simply cruel and barbaric. It is unacceptable treatment for man's (and woman's) best friend and it should be abolished.

It is time for all of us to take action to help our best friends so they don't have to live their entire lives at the end of a chain. Encourage your neighbors to bring their family member inside. Offer to take their dog for a walk. Educate them about the animal's needs and about the dangers of keeping a tethered dog. And check and make sure their dog has ready access to food, shelter and water. If they are not providing these basics, then call the local police or animal control. And consider approaching your local legislators about enacting a law in your community that prohibits this barbaric practice.

By Judith Fish, M.S.W.

http://www.unchainyourdog.org/

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Can you imagine the life of an abandoned pet?

From the day of your birth, you were all alone on the face of this earth
When you are hungry and cold, not a soul in this world cared, or so you were told
When your love to someone was given with joy, you were cast aside, like a worn out toy
When you were hungry and needed to eat, all you could find were scraps on the street
When you wanted to give someone your love, there was no one there, just the dark sky above
When you were feeling ill, there was no medicine, not even a pill
You cannot talk, you cannot plead, that just a little love is all you need
You were confined to a 4 foot cage, not knowing you were about to die, at a very young age

Then someone - a stranger - a person who cared, came to your rescue and your life was spared
This stranger fed you and sheltered you and ended your grief, for the rest of your life, however brief
This person will soon come to know, that your love for them will forever grow
You will not lie to them, cheat them, or steal them blind, for you are an animal, and can only be kind
You will love them so much for ending your strife, and protect them from harm, at the expense of your life

Hopefully my friend, this will happen to you, this stranger will come calling, right out of the blue
They will love you, feed, you, and care for you too, and know that you love them as much as you do
And through your loving, they will learn this someday, that when its time for them to die...
...the only thing they can take with them, is what they gave away.

Walter Muharsky 1998

The truth is not difficult to see.  It is visible at a glance.  We don't see because ignorance is  bliss.

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